I watch as his engine falters and he spirals out of control down to my bathroom windowsill. I can almost hear his “Mayday!” Screams, a mere echo in the distance but that might just be my guilty conscience. He coughs and splutters, belly up on the dusty white tiles.
His tiny legs flail in the air as he gasps for oxygen with his minuscule lungs that are collapsing, infected with the poison I’ve showered him in. He’s dying for around five seconds which is approximately 1.7 hours in fly time. That is, assuming he is a standard house fly. And a he. That’s a long time to be dying for.
Imagine, in that amount of time you would know you’re dying and there’s nothing you can do about it. In that amount of time, you must be thinking some heavy things. The time you told your parents you hate them, all the plans with friends that you cancelled on and now wished you hadn’t, that second slice of cake you turned down. The time wasted on fad diets and sleeping in.
It made me wonder if I appreciate things enough. Perhaps I don’t. That what I’ve learned during this quarantine, there is so much I take for granted.
I look at the stiffening body and begin to question if this fly has a family waiting for him to come back home. He won’t and they’ll have no idea what happened to him. I stand unblinking as I hover over the hairy body that has now reached a stage of rigor mortis where his exoskeleton would crunch and crumble beneath any weight placed upon it.
It may only be five seconds to me but I’m aware that in his round compound eyes, it lasted a lifetime for him. And he may have been scared.
And then I wonder if there’s any such thing as ‘too compassionate’? and whether the question mark goes inside or outside the quotations and whether I really need quotation marks there and why rigor mortis comes up with a red line underneath it even though I literally Googled how to spell it.
I listened to Lund – Broken whilst I wrote this.